пятница, 14 декабря 2012 г.

13. Not maqams

El-Qasr. Structure at Height 367

To the south of Beit Jimal Monastery at a Height 367 stands a curious circular building with a dome, which from a distance looks like a maqam. Arabs called this building El-Qasr. But this is not a Muslim shrine, but some kind of fortification that may be connected somehow with the Monastery. It has two entrances – on the north and on the west. A round wall has four little loopholes which narrow closer to the front side. There is speculation that this building was used by Israeli forces in 1948. The loopholes look east and south of the Beit Jimal Monastery, the direction from which attacks of the Arab Legion were expected.

View from the north

View from the west

View from the south


Route. An asphalt-paved road, which branches off the Highway 38, leads to the Beit Jimal Monastery. There is a 700-meter long stone path between the cloister and the building.

Fragment of the British map 1945

Visited: 29.07.12
Coordinates: 31°43'10.0"N 34°58'32.1"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Palmer 1881, 328, 329 (Sheet XVII); Stewardson 1888, 139; Khalidi 1992, 319; Wikipedia: Sufla

Dome structure in ‘Azrikam

At a southern entry to ‘Azrikam moshav (3703 Highway) there is a square structure with a dome resembling maqam by its appearance. In Wikipedia it is called the "ancient arab tomb" , however, in fact this is not true. The structure may be dated to Ottoman or Mandate period; however, it is not a tomb but something like a ceramic workshop. Semi-circular niches in walls inside the structure where ceramic products could be annealed point to that. Herewith, a dome with a hole at the top, probably, served as a smoke duct. At present only the northern side of the structure is open; the remaining sides are covered with heaps of bavin wood.

View from the north

View from the north-west


Coordinates: 31°44'46.6"N 34°41'54.8"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

Palestinian house (Tzova)

A structure with two domes to the east of Mount Tzova, which from a distance looks like a maqam. Some guides consider it to be a tomb of Sheikh Ibrahim, although it’s none other than the remains of an ordinary Palestinian house. Everyone who comes inside immediately gets the evidence of this.

The maqam Sheikh Ibrahim did exist, though, but it was located not to the east of Mount Tzova but to the south of it, as indicated on the British maps of Palestine.

Fragment of the British map 1942

About this monument T. Canaan said: "Es-sultan Ibrahim's shrine is made of a square open enclosure with a taqah, a prayer niche, a small huwetah and a fig tree." (1927, 71). 300 meters to the south of the road that passes near the Mount Tzova there is an ancient oak and a very old olive tree. Next to them lie the remains of a Muslim cemetery. But no matter how hard we tried, we could not find any sign of a maqam there.

The ancient oak and the olive tree to the south of Mount Tzova

Photo of 1920s (from the article by C. McCown)
The remains of a Muslim cemetery

Visited: 12.08.12
Coordinates31°47'04.3"N 35°07'49.6"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: McCown 1922, 75; Canaan 1927, 51, 71; Khalidi 1992, 318–319

Sufla (Sufle)

The search for a maqam in a former Palestinian village Sufla (el-Sifleh), near the spring of Sufle, also was fruitless. It is reported that a shrine of Sheikh Mu'annis used to stand in the village (Palmer 1881, 328, 329). It is said that one of the travelers saw this maqam just recently. We examined the ruins of the village through and through, but did not find either maqam, or even its possible foundation. At some point, we came across the remains of a small building with the fragments of a collapsed dome and some inscriptions in Arabic. This structure could have been considered the maqam of Sheikh Mu'annis if there was a mihrab or at least its contour. But there is no sign of the mihrab.

The remains of village houses in Sufla

Remains of the building with the fragments of a collapsed dome

The remains of some burial place with a column – perhaps, Byzantine

According to W. Khalidi, the village cemetery lies to the east of the site (1992, 319).

Route. The Valley Nahal Me'ara is a popular tourist route. We met a large group of Israeli schoolchildren accompanied by the guides and teachers. To reach ‘Ein Sufle drive from moshav Bar Giora (Highway 386) along the road 4x4 westwards for 3 kilometers, and then stop at the power line, which crosses the valley. Next, there is a 300-meter climb to the hill on the right, where in the cleft of the rock you’ll find the Sufle Spring. To west of it there are ruins of the Palestinian settlement.

Visited: 13.08.12
Coordinates31°44'06.0"N 35°02'25.1"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

1 комментарий:

  1. This is quite a wonderful article and the pictures you have uploaded are really amazing but it gives me some sort of loneliness feeling I font why.